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1. Don't assume the worst
Don't take someone else's word that your credit is bad. Check for yourself by obtaining your credit report and credit score. Even 2 candidates with an identical score might not be the same in the eyes of a lender, says John Van Alst, staff attorney for the National Consumer Law Center. "Even if your score is tarnished, you may have a better chance than someone with the same score and no (credit) history," he says.